When it comes to beautiful bookshops, few are quite as picture perfect as Bloomsbury’s Persephone Books. Located on Lamb’s Conduit Street, in the heart of London’s most literary neighbourhood, the distinct dove grey book covers, stylish window displays and peony-filled interiors have become something of a status symbol among the Instagram generation of book lovers in both London and beyond.
As well as being a shop front for beautiful tomes, Persephone Books is also a publishers; founded by Nicola Beauman in 1999, it specialises in rediscovered twentieth century fiction and non fiction books by neglected (mostly women) authors, and thus makes this literary gem a must-visit for anyone with an interest in either feminism or forgotten classics.
I can’t remember my first visit to the shop; though suffice it to say I’ve spent more time perusing the shop’s pastel shelves in the thirty months I’ve spent living overseas, than in the five years I spent as a London city dweller. Every time I visit the place I once called home, I make a beeline for the shop, with a view to add to my already fairly impressive selection of grey-jacketed books.
In addition to the patterned endpapers and pale grey covers, what sets Persephone Books apart from many other independents is the hand-written notes under every single book, offering would-be buyers a subtle indication of the tale that lies within the pages. A small, but impactful gesture, it’s certainly an effective buying strategy. While I can’t remember the last book I bought from Persephone Books, what I do remember is that I was swayed by its recommendation, which came from husband and wife writing duo Nicci French, whose books I have adored for almost two decades.
A literary treasure trove, a shop to savour, a boudoir-like bookshop, Persephone Books is the ultimate destination for anyone with a penchant for stories from days gone by. With wooden floorboards, vintage fabrics and gift-wrapped books, the shop boasts both charm and nostalgia by the bucketload, and visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to the selection on offer. With everything from recipe books to novels, to book subscriptions and beyond, a visit to Persephone Books is perfect for an afternoon of unadulterated literary bliss.
About Persephone Books
Persephone Books reprints neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly) women writers. All of our 125 books are intelligent, thought-provoking and beautifully written and are chosen to appeal to busy people wanting titles that are neither too literary nor too commercial. They publish novels, short stories, diaries, memoirs and cookery books; each has an elegant grey jacket, a ‘fabric’ endpaper with a matching bookmark, and a preface by writers such as Jilly Cooper, David Kynaston and Elaine Showalter.
You can visit Persephone Books website here.
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